Promoting Affordable, Reliable Energy
Life:Powered is a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation to ensure that Americans continue to benefit from abundant, reliable, affordable, and clean energy.
- Prohibit municipal regulation of greenhouse gases. Urban municipalities in Texas are pursuing “climate action plans” that increase cost of living and create a patchwork quilt of arbitrary regulations — but don’t deliver any of the promised environmental benefits. The State of Texas should have sole regulatory authority over greenhouse gas emissions to preempt municipal overreach, restore regulatory certainty, and protect Texans’ pocketbooks from activist city councils.
- Prohibit energy discrimination in insurance. Progressive activists are bullying businesses and governments to divest from fossil fuels as well as other industries deemed politically incorrect, threatening the future of the energy producers that power our state and nation. While insurers, as private businesses, should have the flexibility to evaluate prospective customers based on potential risks and long-term costs, they should not be permitted to collude to deny entire industries of capital based on political whims. Texas should prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against companies that produce, refine, or transport energy, agriculture, and/or forestry products.
- Strengthen fiduciary duty for pensions. Progressive activists are bullying businesses and governments to divest from fossil fuels and other industries deemed politically incorrect by exploiting the growing popularity of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing practices, which are used by corporations to show social responsibility. ESG campaigns are designed to deprive industries of capital and redirect it to politically favored causes. State pensions that utilize ESG investing practices place the financial future of state employees, teachers, and first responders in jeopardy. Texas should prohibit state-operated pensions from considering ESG criteria in their investment decisions, making return on investment the sole criteria for investment decisions.
- Counteract federal renewable energy subsidies. Much of the imbalance in Texas’ electric market that led to the February 2021 blackouts — overreliance on unreliable renewable energy and shrinking capacity of reliable thermal generation — is due to market-distorting subsidies from the federal government. While all forms of energy are subsidized to some degree, wind and solar receive vastly larger sums per unit of electricity generated than fossil fuels. This imbalance has led to overinvesting in unreliable generation and underinvesting in reliability, a major contributor to the February blackouts. Texas should charge the Public Utility Commission and ERCOT to eliminate or compensate for any distortion in electricity pricing caused by federal tax credits.
- Require grid reliability. Texas should codify a strong “firming requirement,” requiring all electric generators to guarantee a certain amount of power to the grid during peak periods, to ensure that intermittent generators like wind and solar no longer threaten Texans’ access to electricity.
- Allow corporate property tax breaks to expire. In the last legislative session, Texas legislators chose not to renew wasteful and ineffective corporate property tax breaks under Chapter 313 of the Texas Tax Code, which benefitted manufacturing and renewable energy projects and almost uniformly failed to provide the promised economic development benefits. This provision expires on December 31, 2022, and Texas should not create a new program in its place that only favors politically-connected large businesses. The Texas Legislature should instead focus on property tax relief for all Texans.
- End climate-related financial discrimination. Texas ended energy discrimination by prohibiting companies that divest from, boycott, or sanction fossil fuel companies from doing business with the State of Texas. Texas should expand these provisions to industries similarly targeted by climate activists — and similarly critical to Texans’ lives and livelihoods — including petrochemicals, agriculture, mining, and forestry.